Nearly four weeks past signing day for 2015, the Sooner coaching staff seems to be fully hired. With the arrival of OU’s second 2016 Junior Day event Saturday, now seems like a good time to post some quick thoughts about 2016 recruiting.
Recruiting headlines should pretty much end at quarterback and linebacker. Those two spots will determine the success of this recruiting class from a numbers and needs standpoint.
OU already has two verbal commitments:
- Jean Delance, OT (6-5, 280, 5.2) – Four-star Texas linemen who is a consensus top 250 player.
- Jon-Michael Terry, ATH (6-4, 225, 4.6) – In-state sleeper with great film and serious athleticism.
Delance is the star so far, with offers flying in left and right. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is going to have a hard time holding onto this verbal. Delance is coming back to Norman next weekend, so that should help.
Meanwhile, Terry's pledge gets LB recruiting off to a good start. He’s a versatile athlete who could play a number of positions. If OU’s LB recruiting goes crazy, OU could easily play Terry at TE or H-back. He had more than 600 yards receiving as a junior, so he has the receiving skills to stay on that side.
Of the newest coaches, Kerry Cooks is off to a smashing start, offering kids in the Southeast and re-connecting with a host of high-profile DBs he recruited while at ND.
What does the recruiting class look like in terms of numbers and positions? Here’s an early guess, based on a projected class of 18 to 20 signees:
- 1 QB
- 1 RB
- 2 WRs
- 3-4 OLs
- 3 DLs
- 5 LBs
- 3-4 DBs
New offensive coorindator Lincoln Riley has a difficult task ahead recruiting QBs. OU’s didn’t take a QB last year, which should set up the Sooners easily to snag a QB this year. However, OU changed coordinators, and recruiting is all about relationships.
Riley has already changed things up greatly, offering more QBs earlier than Josh Heupel’s recent strategy. Right now, the best QB prospect with OU ties just committed to Texas (Shane Buechele).
We can debate how much Riley wanted Buechele, but he’s a top 250 national talent at a position of need. If Riley does not snag a player of equivalent or higher ranking, there’s going to be some debate about OU backing off Buechele. In addition, QBs decide early, so Riley does not have all summer and fall to play catchup.
Who are the QB targets?
- Dwayne Haskins Jr. (6-3, 190, 4.6) – Target from Maryland recruited already by Riley
- K.J. Costello (6-4, 205. 4.7) – OU’s playing catchup here, but he’s a perfect for the offense.
Other names will likely be added unless Riley makes big progress with one of these kids.
New outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons and Riley in have been offering speed, speed and more speed. OU added about four California WR offers in the last week – Theo Howard and Jackie Jones being two of them.
LB recruiting, LB recruiting, LB recruiting. Well, Tim Kish is back, but so far LB recruiting is off to its best start ever. OU’s has offered a number of national prospects that everyone has offered. In addition, OU has made a number of timely early offers to the next group of LBs in the rankings.
- Jon-Michael Terry
- Marvin Terry (6-3, 225, 4.6)
- Dontavious Jackson (6-2, 235)
- Pernell Jefferson (6-3, 230)
- Caleb Kelly (6-3, 215)
Landing all five would not be a pipe dream at all. Any extra scholarships could easily go here if the right players want to be Sooners, A number of excellent LBs are expressing real interest in OU.
After the second junior day event, I’ll have an offensive prospects review with a defensive prospects board to follow the week after.